Aloha ʻOe – Kawaiahao Seminary Quartet

Mahalo a nui to record collector Ryan Erickson who posted this recording on his YouTube channel then shared it with the Facebook group Hawaiian Music From The Golden Age. This is one of four recordings this group made for Victor Records. Discographer Malcolm Rockwell dates the recordings to July 1904, and discusses evidence that these recordings were likely made in New York City.

Note how the singers render the rhythm of “Aloha ʻoe” at the beginning of the chorus.

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2 Responses to Aloha ʻOe – Kawaiahao Seminary Quartet

  1. Tomiko Conner says:

    It’s wonderful to see a posting about this historic recording of Aloha ʻOe. It appears to be the earliest recording of the song and is likely to be most like what the composer, Queen Liliʻuokalani, intended since the Kawaiahaʻo Seminary girls frequently performed the song in her presence. The Princess, and later Queen, was a frequent visitor to the Seminary and sponsored many girls there. She would have most certainly corrected any errors made by them. In the time since Mr. Rockwell published his discography in 2007, he and others have gathered more information on both the Seminary and the recordings. It is now believed that they were most likely recorded in Honolulu. Primarily because it is highly unlikely that the Seminary girls would have traveled given both the age of the students and the resources available to them. Kawaiahaʻo Seminary educated girls up to the 8th grade and by the early 1900s was in financial distress. Additionally, there is other circumstantial evidence that the recordings were made in Honolulu in 1906. As mentioned, this is one of 4 recordings done by the Kawaiahaʻo Seminary girls. We have successfully located two of the other recordings: Waipio (at the NYPL) and Kawaiahaʻo (Malcolm Rockwell has obtained a copy, and although I haven’t verified it, it is now also listed, in addition to Aloha ʻOe, on the DAHR site maintained by UCSB). The elusive 4th recording, ʻĀinahau, is still out there somewhere and I and others are actively looking for this recording. I’d welcome any insights that you or your readers might have. If you would like to hear the Kawaiahaʻo song it can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNasqTkSfUo. This arrangement is based on the original recording — beautifully amplified from 4 voices to 56. I can be contacted at archives@midpac.edu I am an alumna and volunteer archivist at Mid-Pacific Institute which is the direct institutional descendant of Kawaiahaʻo Seminary. In 1908, Kawaiahaʻo was combined with several other schools and became its girls department. Mahalo for this site and for the many other things you do to support Hawaiian music.

    • amykstillman says:

      Tomiko–Mahalo a nui loa for your commentary. Iʻm excited to learn that recordings of Waipiʻo and Kawaiahaʻo have surfaced!!

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